Diary of a Dart Player with Andy Relf – Andy takes on three-time world champ John Part

LADBROKES  PDC WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2013'ALEXANDRA PALACE'LONDON'PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG' ROUND 1 'JOE CULLEN V JOHN PART'JOHN PART
LADBROKES PDC WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2013'ALEXANDRA PALACE'LONDON'PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG' ROUND 1 'JOE CULLEN V JOHN PART'JOHN PART

Last week I started a new season in the Sussex Superleague, and signed for a new team also. I’m now playing for Lewes out of the Tally-ho. Our first match was away at Newhaven, and, despite having a shocker on finishing, I won, but the team sadly lost 5-4.

Soon it was time for another little jaunt to my favourite place... Wigan! Leaving late on a Friday afternoon is never a good idea, but we had no option due to work commitments. A six-and-a-half hour trip was not what I wanted, but we made it to the hotel at about 10.30pm. I actually got a bye on Saturday, and this meant a long wait for my match against Richie Howson. When we did finally get going, Richie was playing well, and went into a 2-0 lead. That said, I’d had a shot at a double in those legs, so it could have been the other way. I then found my range, and won the next three legs. Richie drew level and then went 5 -3 up; I got back to 5-4, and had darts to level, but all three hit the wire of tops. Richie stepped in to win.

Sunday saw me in a preliminary round match against Chris Wickendon. It was a novel start to a match. We were called onto board 9, practised for a few minutes, then were told by the officials we were on the board next to it. A few more darts and I throw for the bull. Then Steve, the official, shouts across: actually you are on the next board. More practice, and I then go and lose the bull! So the match begins and Chris takes the first leg. I respond well after this and take the match 6-1. I’d played really well, and now had a long wait for my next match – against former world champion and the current order of merit leader, John Part.

I won the bull against John, and took the first leg in 15 darts. The second leg saw me sat on 53 after 12 darts, before John checks out 121 to draw level. We had a great match, and although I lost, I had once again played well against a top class player. We had a chat after the match, in which John was complimentary of my game. That is a huge boost to my confidence. A weekend at home then another weekend in Wigan. My new Mastermind subject: the M6 motorway!